Dried Flower Business in specialty flower is a very profitable venture now worldwide. Flower production is one of the fastest growing crop trends in agriculture today with a strong demand for all types of flowers, especially unique and hard-to-grow varieties.
The interest in cut dry flowers has increased consistently over the last ten years. If you enjoy gardening and want to turn your gardening hobby into business, think about growing flowers for profit.
Flowers are among the most profitable plants, producing one of the highest returns of any specialty crop. Growing, processing and selling dried flowers could put you on the path of making money with a sustainable business from very first year.
One of the best aspects of setting this dried flower business in motion is the fact that you can easily start it right from your home. In addition, you can use your own garden as the initial source for the flowers to be dried and sold.
The potential for profitable dry flower production is to emphasize crops that are adapted to our northern climate. Pay attention to flower quality and focus on niche marketing. The types of crops that can be grown efficiently will determine what you can offer the market, and market price and demand will determine what can be grown profitably. Dried flowers, also called “everlastings” because they last so long when dried.
Crop Selection for Dried Flower Business
Selection of suitable crops for dried flower business is very important to get success in the industry. Plan it very carefully. Some of the flowers lose their ornamental value after drying. The quality of dry flowers also varies with cultivar of a particular crop.
Most everlastings, such as celosia and straw flowers, are very easy to grow and easy to air dry. Growers find the best market for dried flowers are craft shops, antique shops and selling dried flowers arrangements to flower shops and restaurants.
Harvesting for Dried Flower Business
The stage of harvesting for different flowers varies according to the species and the form of flower desired. You will need to be careful about the perfect time for harvesting. Usually, flowers are harvested just before they are fully open and the colour has not faded. Flowers harvested at fully open stage took lesser time for drying than those harvested at a tight bud and half open stage.
Drying Techniques for Dried Flower Business
The quality and appearance of dried flowers and other ornamental plant parts are greatly influenced by the method of drying or the drying technique being followed. Various techniques involved for the production of dried ornamental plant material includes air drying, press drying, embedded drying, oven drying and freeze drying etc in dried flower business. The NBRI, Lucknow is a pioneer institute in India which works on the dehydration of flowers, foliage and floral crafts.
1. Air Drying
The air drying is a very common method of drying where plant materials are attached to rope/wire and are kept in hanging position either in the dark or in the sun for quick drying. Air drying requires a warm clean dark and well-ventilated area with low humidity
2. Press Drying
In press drying, the flowers and foliage are placed between the folds of newspaper sheets or blotting papers giving some space among flowers. These sheets are kept one above the other and corrugated boards of the same size are placed in between the folded sheets so as to allow the water vapour to escape.
3. Embedded Drying
Sand, borax, silica gel, sawdust, perlite and combination of these are used as media for embedding. Among these, sand and borax are cheaper but they take more time for drying. For delicate flowers like roses, dahlia, carnation etc, silica gel is the ideal drying agent.
4. Oven Drying
Currently hot air and microwave ovens are also being used for faster drying and to improve the quality of dry flowers in a dried flower business. In these methods, the plant material is kept at a controlled temperature for a specified time typical of the plant species.Temperature plays an important role in the drying of flowers and other ornamental plant parts by influencing both qualitative and quantitative parameters.
5. Glycerine Drying
Glycerine drying has been used by several workers especially to preserve foliage. It was comparatively less expensive and has a high water attracting capacity. Many types of foliage have been successfully preserved by either immersing leaves or placing crushed stems in a 33 percent glycerol solution
6. Freeze Drying
The most effective method of flower preservation in dried flower business is freeze drying. Freeze drying relies on the principle of sublimation, whereby ice held under conditions of partial vacuum (less than 4.58 torr) and low temperature (less than 0°C) will evaporate on heating without going through a liquid phase. The absence of liquid water during the dehydration process means that undesirable chemical reactions will not occur. Hence, colour and even fragrance are retained in the dried flowers.
Once the dried flower business is ready for expansion, there are a couple of options. The first is to lease vacant land to increase flower production, and the second option is to purchase flower. Once dried and packaged, the flowers can be sold to retailers on a wholesale basis.
Demand For Dried Flower Business
Dry flowers have good demand both in Indian and International markets. India exports it to countries like USA Japan and Europe. India stands first in dry flower export owing to the availability of a variety of plants. The volume of export is about Rs 100 crore per year with 500 variety of flowers to 20 countries. The major applications of dried flowers are very wide. In includes making handmade paper, lampshades, candle holders, jute bags, photo frames, boxes, books, topiary, cards and several gifts. The use of dry flowers in the making of these products enhances the appearance and beauty of these products.
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